I'm banned from flagging but I don't know why.

I flagged these three answers as very low quality:

These answers are not about the OP question, so I reported them.

As you see, these post have been removed because of their quality (I don't know by moderators or by the one who answered), but I see this phrase in front of the flags:

declined - a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it

So what's wrong with my flagging?

  • 3
    Note that "banned from flagging" is because you disregarded your warnings that the system tried to give you, and because we declined your VLQ flags. Again, as answers put, you must read How do I flag correctly? before you flag anymore.
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 15:13
  • 5
    Also note that flag bans are temporary - you will be able to flag again after a week :)
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 17:42
  • I can only recall one flag that was decline by mods. There were no ill-effects but it is good to know privileges can be revoked if too many flags are rejected by mods. Thanks to your ban others may be spared the same experience by reading this Q&A. +1 Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 1:12

2 Answers 2


As Thomas Ward puts it

We are a bit harsh when it comes to the use of the VLQ flag. We reserve the VLQ flag for totally, completely, unsalvageable crap, not for unclear questions.
VLQ has some specific things that go along with it - an automated downvote and automatic processes behind the scenes that ultimately reflect poorly against the poster of a given post. Because of the automatic downvote and some other behind the scenes stuff, I judge VLQs with the harshest of scrutiny and things because of that.

Also as per terdon (some emphasis mine)

VLQ should only be used for things that are so hopelessly awful, they can't be fixed. When thinking about whether you should flag something as VLQ, ask yourself this question: If I could, would I just delete this immediately, or can it be fixed?. If the answer to the question is yes, I would delete this and no it is impossible to fix, then you might want to cast a VLQ flag.

If, however, the post could conceivably be fixed and might contain some useful information, then please do not flag it. Instead, either fix it yourself or, if that's not an option, downvote it.

If the post is just a wrong answer, or isn't using the formatting tools correctly, or has bad grammar or other such fixable issues, please don't flag. Such posts should either be edited into shape or downvoted.

So it's clear that Very Low Quality (VLQ) flags should be used with caution. In this particular case those answers you flagged seem just technically wrong answers (or at most not an attempt to answer at all, there's a Not An Answer (NAA) flag for that) and hence should not be flagged as VLQ (in fact there is no flag for wrong answers, those should be downvoted and commented on instead).

  • 5
    Note that not only should VLQ flags be used with caution, they should also be used in far fewer situations than NAA (not an answer) flags. Sometimes people flag VLQ when no flag should be used, but the far more common mistake--which I have made myself--is to raise a VLQ flag on a post that should be flagged, but as NAA rather than VLQ. Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 14:56

I recommend reading How do I flag correctly? if you have not yet done so.

If an answer should be deleted because it does not attempt to address the question that was asked, that's not an answer. If the answer says something discernible, it probably does not qualify for a very low quality flag, even if what it said is completely without merit. If a reasonable person might not immediately agree with you that the post should be deleted, and the sooner the better, then the very low quality flag is likely not the best choice for the post.

When a moderator marks a VLQ flag helpful, the system automatically casts a downvote on the post (which would be in addition to your own downvote). The system also uses that information internally. In particular, the post is likely to be used as a review audit. So answers that are merely wrong or misunderstand the question should not be flagged VLQ.

(The recent question Flag got declined but then reconsidered? -- don't miss Thomas Ward's answer -- is also relevant to this, even though it's about questions rather than answers.)


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